Using a 2-handed backhand may decrease elbow pain.
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Elbow pain can come from playing racket sports, such as tennis, and also from other daily activities that require repetitive wrist movement. Tennis elbow can develop from computer use, frequent use of hand tools or assembly work. Tennis elbow straps are worn to decrease pressure on overworked muscles.
Tennis elbow is caused by overuse of the muscles along the back of the forearm that bend the wrist backward. These muscles come together and attach to the outside of the elbow via a shared tendon. This condition can be acute -- starting suddenly -- or chronic, lasting more than 8 weeks.
Acute tennis elbow is caused by inflammation of the tendon on the outside of the elbow. Chronic tennis elbow arises due to tiny tears in the tendon that attaches the forearm muscles to the bone. A tennis elbow strap is sometimes worn to decrease pain with acute or chronic tennis elbow. The brace is thought to decrease pressure on the tendon and disperse muscle contraction forces through the forearm, but supportive evidence is lacking.
Tennis Elbow Strap
A variety of tennis elbow straps, also called counterforce straps, are available. Some consist of a neoprene cuff with a cinch strap to keep it in place. Others have a gel cushion or air pillow that is positioned over the muscles on the back of the forearm. Tennis elbow straps can also be part of a larger elbow brace, such as a neoprene elbow sleeve that covers the midforearm to the middle of the upper arm. A cinch strap goes over the muscles in the forearm. A tennis elbow strap should be comfortable, and feel secure on your forearm. A physical therapist or doctor can help you choose the right one for your condition.
Tennis Elbow Strap Use
Tennis elbow straps are worn when you do daily activities or sports that cause pain. The strap is wrapped around the forearm, approximately 2 finger-widths below the elbow. If the strap has a gel pad or pillow, it should be positioned over the largest part of the muscles on the back of the forearm. The cinch strap is tightened in this position. It should be snug, but not too tight. One finger should slide easily between the strap and the arm. If you feel tingling, numbness or throbbing in your hand, the strap is too tight.
Although tennis elbow straps are designed for this particular problem, they can also be worn to decrease pain associated with golfer's elbow. This condition affects muscles on the inside of the elbow that bend the wrist forward and bend the fingers. While tennis elbow develops from repetitive backward wrist bending, golfer's elbow arises from repetitive forward bending of the wrist and gripping. The strap is worn around the elbow, in the same place as it is for tennis elbow. If the strap has a gel pad or pillow, it is positioned over the largest part of the muscles on the inside of the elbow.